What is a KAP Preparation Session?

KAP 101
June 19, 2024

Ketamine-Assisted Psychotherapy consists of 2 components: medical treatment and psychotherapy sessions. At Journey Clinical, our in-house medical team takes on the medical aspects of treatment while licensed mental health professionals deliver the therapy via preparation, dosing and integration sessions. This blog highlights the KAP preparation session.

What is a KAP Preparation Session?

Preparation sessions typically occur one to two weeks before the first KAP dosing session, and lay the groundwork for a collaborative and supportive therapeutic alliance between the patient and the psychotherapist. During these sessions, which are scheduled like regular therapy sessions, the patient and therapist align on the process and set intentions for their work together. The quantity and length of preparation sessions are determined by the unique treatment plan of each patient, ensuring personalized care and attention.

Why is Preparation Important?

A KAP preparation session is a vital component of the therapeutic process, serving as a foundational step toward safe and effective Ketamine-Assisted Psychotherapy. As Journey Clinical’s Clinical Advisor, Lauren Taus, LCSW, notes: 

“Preparation is the start of the relationship. It is in the space of the relationship that we both hurt and heal. So the most essential ingredient to all of the work that we do as therapists is relational. The preparation begins in the therapeutic dynamic, and all of the research and studies demonstrate that that is the essential ingredient to positive treatment outcomes.”

Setting Intentions & Expectations

Clarifying a patient’s goals for KAP is an essential element of preparation. Understanding the client’s background and expectations helps a psychotherapist adjust to the client’s unique needs, ensuring that they feel informed and comfortable going into their KAP dosing experience. Preparation sessions lay the groundwork for a positive dosing experience. Questions that a therapist might ask during a preparation session include: 

  • What are your intentions for doing this type of therapy?
  • What might be something that would help ground you during your session?
  • What fears do you have going into this experience?

Softening expectations and clarifying goals can help set clients up for success and foster a realistic understanding of the therapeutic journey. Journey Clinical KAP Provider LJ Lumpkin III, LMFT shares:

I put a lot of emphasis into the preparation and integration elements in order to convey that the KAP medicine session is an open window where if we’ve been doing the work in the beginning and at the end phase, they can make so much more progress than regular talk-therapy.” 

Preparing a Comfortable Environment (Set & Setting)

During the preparation session, the therapist and patient will also arrange the proper set and setting for the KAP dosing session. This includes determining the modality (in-person, remote, group, or self-led) and any elements that will be introduced during the session, such as lighting, scent, and sound to enhance the experience. Journey Clinical member Eric Fraser, LCAT is a music therapist that determines the music a patient will listen to during the preparation session: 

“I like to do a dress rehearsal where the client comes in for a preparation session and we try listening to different music. They get into the vibe of sharing what comes up for them while they listen. Just approaching music like that, being asked: ‘What images, sensations, or imagery arise when you listen to this?’ Every client can benefit from just being able to check in.”

Review of Safety Protocol

The therapist will also review the dosing protocols outlined in the treatment plan with the patient, to ensure that every patient understands the safety measures involved in their KAP session. A therapist explaining the dosing procedure and guiding a patient through monitoring their blood pressure helps the patient become comfortable with the process, reducing any potential stress or anxiety on the day of the dosing session. If the session will be remote, the therapist will discuss the patient’s chaperone’s responsibilities in maintaining a safe and supportive environment throughout the session. This includes discussing the chaperone's role in providing emotional support, ensuring physical safety, and being available for assistance as needed.


Psychotherapy with a trusted KAP provider creates the best conditions for faster, longer-term mental health improvements. Choose from our network of thousands of trained, licensed KAP providers based on your unique needs and preferences, including in-person or remote treatment, insurance coverage, therapy specialties and more. 

You can read more about why undergoing treatment with a trained, licensed professional is beneficial here. To assess your eligibility for KAP and get matched with a provider, visit: https://my.journeyclinical.com/get-started